The newest option from Smith: a breathable MTB helmet. © Cyclocross Magazine

The newest option from Smith: a breathable MTB helmet. © Cyclocross Magazine

Smith Optics is entering a crowded helmet market, but the company was showing off its first-ever mountain bike helmet called the “Forefront,” and its feature set will likely appeal to cyclocrossers.

The Forefront forgoes the industry standard EPS foam in favor of Koroyd, a series of small, hollow polymer tubes joined side-by-side. Koroyd’s properties reportedly make the helmet both safe and light. Smith Optics claims that 30% less energy from an impact will reach your head when using a Koroyd helmet, and yet the Forefront is, they assert, the lightest all-mountain helmet around. Koroyd also stands up to impact better,  and it doesn’t deform or crack over time like EPS.

Hollowed out plastic tubes keep the helmet light but protective. © Cyclocross Magazine

Hollowed out plastic tubes keep the helmet light but protective. © Cyclocross Magazine

This is achieved through the helmet’s novel structure. The vents reveal a Koroyd shell that totally covers the wearer’s head. Smith Optics have taken advantage of this to form an aggressive series of vents that channel air not only over the head, but to ports that push air over goggles and sunglasses to reduce fogging and sweat. This level of seamless integration is evident elsewhere  – GoPro and Light&Motion are manufacturing mounts that will sit under a protective port on the crown of the helmet.

After several years of helmet manufacturers focusing on weight and ventilation, the latest trend for bicycle helmets—as with MIPS-equipped helmets like the POC Trabec MIPS and Lazer Nut’z MIPS—has seen a renewed focus on safety, integration and aesthetics.

The Forefront will be available in March 2014 at an MSRP of $220.